After a regulatory battle in San Francisco, e-scooters are shaking up transportation in the Bay Area’s tech heartland.
Joape Pela isn’t your average, lanky tech bro. Sure, the 30-year-old East Palo Alto native lives in downtown San Jose and works as a payment analyst at local startup Finxera. But the former University of Utah football player’s 6-foot-3, 320-pound stature made him wary of one trend quickly gaining traction with his startup brethren: electric scooters.
“I was surprised. They have some jump,” Pela says of the devices that started to appear on city streets this past February. “It felt pretty good, having the wind blow through my hair and all that.”
Pela is one of many San Jose residents, commuters and business owners navigating the sudden emergence of hundreds of scooters available through two deep-pocketed app providers. San Mateo startup Lime has raised $132 million to offer on-demand shared bikes and scooters in San Jose and more than 50 other cities nationwide. Bird, a startup based in Santa Monica, is backed by $115 million and focused solely on e-scooters.